The Football Championship Subdivision Playoff Selection Show was a mixed bag for Kennesaw State.
The Owls, ranked in the top 10 in both the STATS Perform and American Football Coaches Association polls, were snubbed when it came to getting one of eight national seeds and a bye week that came with it.
But overall, for teams that have to play on the first weekend, the Big South Conference champion got one of the more favorable draws of the tournament.
Kennesaw State (10-1) will host Pioneer League champion Davidson (8-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The winner of that game will then travel to Johnson City, Tennessee, to play East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Dec. 4, which would be a fairly easy drive for either fan base from Kennesaw or Davidson’s campus on the outskirts of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Games in the first two rounds will be seen on ESPN+.
“We are excited to keep playing this season and will hopefully garner a respectable level of recognition for our program here at Kennesaw State,” Owls coach Brian Bohannon said in a release. “We finished the season how we wanted. All year we wanted to leave (the conference) the right way and that’s what we did. We controlled what we could and were one of the few teams that went undefeated against FCS competition and aim to keep that going Saturday. It’s time for us to have a great week of practice and get ready to play a good football team.”
Davidson will come in with the top rushing offense in the FCS, averaging 348.4 yards per game, with Kennesaw State second at 275.5. It will be the second straight season in which the Wildcats have made the FCS playoffs.
While Kennesaw State does not have a history with Davidson, it does with East Tennessee State, should it advance.
The Owls played the Buccaneers in their inaugural game in 2015, winning 56-16 in Johnson City. The Buccaneers returned the favor the following season in Kennesaw, beating the Owls 20-17 in double overtime.
The programs have not played since.
East Tennessee was given the No. 7 national seed after finishing 10-1 with a win over Vanderbilt and winning the Southern Conference championship. Likely one of the main reasons the Owls did not receive a national seed was their strength of schedule, which ranked 89th in the FCS heading into the weekend.
Defending FCS champion Sam Houston State was the No. 1 seed, followed by North Dakota State, James Madison, Sacramento State, Villanova and Montana. Montana State was No. 8.